New Underground Gallery/Studio offers new works; events

New Underground Gallery/Studio offers new works; events

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

Roni Golan has established a name in the arts community as one of the leading visual artists in the area. Now he has opened his own studio at 2110 11th St., right above The Rock Place (café and Christian music club for youngsters), ironically called Underground Gallery Studio. The gallery space is truly amazing, and the work Golan has done to bring it to its present condition is commendable.

The gallery was open for exhibition this past weekend in conjunction with Art Scene, and featured works by Golan in an exhibit titled Fresh Paint. Mostly in the media of paint on wood and Masonite, these visual structures offer much for the eye and mind to dwell on. “What Do You Mean When You Say No?” and “Tree of Life” were what captured my eye, but having an artistically illiterate reporter describing these pieces to the reader would be meaningless, and perhaps disrespectful. Check em’ out for yourself. Another piece, “Frozen River,” seemed to be a television screen within a wooden stand featuring a still picture of a river in winter (in black and white). There is something eerily compelling about this piece, although it’s hard to put a finger on what that aspect is.

One of the most impressive aspects of Underground Gallery is the atmosphere. Few galleries in town have the same amount of space used so well. The hard wood floor and high painted ceiling add a dimension of grandeur to the setting. When asked how he found the space, Golan merely said “Luck,” and laughed knowingly. Just as I was about to comment on what a great location Underground Studios would be for some sort of live entertainment (poetry readings, music, etc.) Golan divulged that he has been planning on having Ned Haggard host poetry readings with a tentative date of May 17 and monthly thereafter.

Formerly of Chicago and New York City, Haggard is a new resident to Rockford. He studied creative writing in many locations, including Harvard University, and has achieved various awards for his work in narrative poetry. Haggard has been published in a number of literary journals around the country, most recently in a New York poetry anthology, Off the Cuff last month.

Haggard plans on hosting both open mic sessions and organized readings featuring guest authors. His series is titled “Let Freedom Ring,” and listings for these events can be found at a later date in TRRT Arts Calendar.

There was some talk with Golan about whether he planned to ever host any live music at the gallery; he said that besides the monthly poetry readings, he wants to host bands (probably not rock) and contemporary dance performances. He emphasized that his gallery was for the promotion of all arts. Golan also claims that his space was available for rent or sometimes on a donation basis with organizations. He is toying with the idea of an independent movie festival at some point, which would be great for all those who forget to submit their work to the Storefront movie festival in the summer. New Underground Studio has only been open since the beginning of the year, and in four months time, he is still seeking support from the community. He is also seeking an apprentice or assistant interested in helping out with paper work and hanging/moving art pieces who also wants to learn from Golan. For more information, go to

Underground Gallery Studio can be found by going down 11th St. to 2110, where you will see a sign for The Rock Place. Enter the door and go upstairs, or stop by The Rock Place first to play some shuffleboard and hear some Christian rock music before you enter the gallery. It’s a strange contrast in atmospheres, but its’ definitely worth visiting the gallery. The gallery is fortunately open daily and no appointments are necessary, but you’ll want to call for specific hours. Hours and events can be found at the Web site, as well as by calling the gallery at 979-1944.

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